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Friday, May 16, 2014

R&M4U-Classics: Bon Jovi - "New Jersey" (1988)

Today I reveal another classic for you: Bon Jovi's "New Jersey" from 1988. I've already mentioned that album in my last post and I thought it's time to discuss this album, because Bon Jovi was the most important influence in my youth and their older records still define my taste of music today. With this band everything started. I was 12 years old when I listened to "It's My Life" for the very first time. I loved that song so much, so I got their album "Crush" in 2000. That was my first rock record and with that one I started to discover the whole Bon Jovi discography. But it's not about "Crush" here, because this one is by far not the best album Bon Jovi did.

When it comes to the best of the best it has to be "New Jersey"! I even would go that far to say it is my favorite album of all time. It's a timeless Hard Rock classic, with some of the best songs that were ever written in this genre. Yes, to those of you who can't believe it: once Bon Jovi were a Hard Rock band (or a Glam/Hair Metal band - call it what you want) and especially with "New Jersey" they were on the top of their game.

"New Jersey" has a pretty weird history. After Bon Jovi's megaseller "Slippery When Wet" the band wanted to release a double-LP, called "Sons Of Beaches". I really don't know why they finally didn't do it. Of course the label didn't want to, but at least a few years later they could have done a re-issue with all songs, because "New Jersey" was a huge success and all the tracks who didn't end up on this album were already recorded as demos and have never been released. Only a few bootlegs are around and on Youtube you'll find some songs. I have all of them and I can tell you this would have been a monster of an album. "Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?" (which ended up on records from Cher and Kane Roberts) or "House Of Fire" (which was used by Alice Cooper in 1989) and "Now & Forever" had so much hit potential, it's a shame that those songs were removed from the tracklist. I really don't get it. But to be honest Bon Jovi always had a strange view on things when it comes to selecting the songs for an album. Just remember fantastic tunes like "Borderline" or "Edge Of A Broken Heart", which should have been on "Slippery When Wet".

Nevertheless "New Jersey" has lots of jewels to offer. That means: stadium-sized anthems ("Born To Be My Baby", "Wild Is The Wind", "Blood On Blood"), pure Rock'n'Roll ("99 In The Shade", Bad Medicine", "Lay Your Hands On Me") and dreamy power-ballads ("I'll Be There For You", "Living In Sin") were mixed to a truely enjoyable cocktail and many songs still mean the world to the fans. The songwriting was topped by amazing guitarplay from Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi's fabulous voice. In 1988 he was one of the best rock singers around and the chemistry between him and Richie made this album very special. With this record Bon Jovi  substantiated their status as one of the most important rock bands in the world at that time and it had also a huge impact on me when I discovered this gem in 2001.

I was 13 years old when I listened to this album in a store. From the first note I fell in love with the songs, but my parents didn't want to buy it. So, I collected some money over the time and rode by bike to the next city ... that were around 20 miles! I remember how lucky I was when I finally held this LP in my hands. At this time I didn't had so much CD's, so I listened to this album every day for months and still today "New Jersey" rotates in my CD-Player (I also bought the re-issue with two live bonus tracks in 2012). I also remember how the people in my class looked at me when I told them I bought a Bon Jovi album. People are still laughing at you when you tell them you listen to Bon Jovi and it makes me really angry. Yes, BJ are a pop-band nowadays and I also don't like their average stuff from recent years, but many people have forgotten or even don't know how many great albums Bon Jovi did in the past and how they influenced the whole music world.

"New Jersey" really pulled me into the rock (and later the metal) scene, because since I listened to this album I was always looking for other bands or musicians, who play music in a similar style. Yeah and I found more than one album. On next "R&M4U-Classics" I'll discuss one of those records. 
To come to an end: I owe this band and especially this particular record very much. With "New Jersey" I found my love for Rock'n'Roll and without it I wouldn't be here today and I wouldn't have discovered so many amazing bands or wouldn't have founded this blog. So, thank you Bon Jovi for this masterpiece!

UPDATE May 22nd: miracles happen every time - yesterday Bon Jovi announced a reissue of "New Jersey" on July 1st, 2014! The Deluxe Edition will feature the original album (remastered) with three b-sides, a second disc with ALL the demos and bonustracks that should appear on the double-LP in 1988 and a DVD with a documentary about the Jersey Syndicat tour! Folks, this is the final version of this masterpiece, this is the album BJ wanted to make back in 1988 and it took them 26 years to release it. More reissues of other BOn Jovi albums will follow later this year. Go and get it!

Now tell me what you think about "New Jersey"! :)


01. Lay Your Hands On Me
02. Bad Medicine
03. Born To Be My Baby *
04. Living In Sin *
05. Blood On Blood *
06. Homebound Train
07. Wild Is The Wind *
08. Ride Cowboy Ride
09. Stick To Your Guns *
10. I'll Be There For You *
11. 99 In The Shade
12. Love For Sale

* best tracks

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